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"Different cultures approach death differently. ...These differences in custom, attitudes, place, time and culture are largely the subject of this wide-ranging interdisciplinary encyclopedia. Veteran scholar, gerontologist and psychologist Robert Kastenbaum leads a distinguished team of academic experts and care providers in creating a comprehensive, cross-cultural guide to the many facets of death in contemporary life. The focus is not simply funeral customs and burial practices, but the many ways that the ideas of death and dying intrude on everyday experience, from the AIDS epidemic to violence on television. These images, be they of body bags, celebrity suicides, famine, terrorist attacks or war, shape the attitudes of people and nations, and define approaches to both life and death. By extension, the forms in which death visited countries in the past shape our experience today. Thus, the coverage of this encyclopedia extends from the Black Death and killer influenza epidemics of the past to the leading causes of death today. The means, rites and methods that people have used to mark this passage are studied, from the ancient mummies of Egypt to virtual memorials on the World Wide Web. The belief systems and teachings of most major religions are examined, as well as expressions of grief and factors affecting suicide. The 327 articles include end-of-life issues ranging from hospices, life support systems and pain management, to inheritance, wills and widows. ... The result is an outstanding, provocative guide that will serve both public and academic libraries well. " -- Lawrence Looks at Books (October 2002)
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